Towns, Traders and Craftspersons
Text Book Page No. 75
What would a traveller visiting a medieval town expect to find ?
A traveller visiting a medieval town is expected to find out what type of a town it is temple town, administrative centre, commercial town or a port town. etc.
Text Book Page No. 76
Why do you think people regarded Thanjavur as a great town ?
- Thanjavur was the capital of Chola empire.
- Thanjavur was a temple town, with Rajarajeshvara temple in it.
- It gave employment to a huge number of people, thus, becoming a centre of opportunities.
- Due to all these reasons. Thanjavur was regarded as a great town.
Text Book Page No. 77
What do you think were the advantages of using this (lost wax) technique ?
The ‘lost wax’ technique had the following advantages :
- It was a quick way to make statues.
- Wax was a reusable material.
- Statues of any desired shape could be produced quickly through this technique.
- The Bronze statues were not at all hollow from inside. They were solidified and had long life.
Text Book Page No. 78
Make a list of towns in your district and try to classify these as administrative centres or as temple/pilgrim centres.
Students, do it yourselves.
[Hint: Ask your teacher or parents to tell you about different types of towns in your district.]
Text Book Page No. 79
Find out more about present-day taxes on markets : who collects these, how are they collected and what are they used for ?
- The present-day taxes on the markets are property tax, service tax, sales tax, etc.
- Central or State government collect these taxes through revenue departments.
- They are collected in cash.
- The money, thus, collected is used for the welfare of the society.
Text Book Page No. 80
What impact do you think this would have had on the lives of people in towns and villages ? Make a list of artisans living in towns.
The great circulation of people and goods must have had following impacts on the lives of people living in towns and villages :
- People in villages and towns must have felt that their lives have changed due to such a great circulation.
- They would have become busier than ever before.
- Their incomes must have increased.
- Their time for the family would have reduced and they would have begun giving more time to the commercial activities, such as circulation of goods and people.
- The towns must have had following artisans-blacksmith, goldsmith, wood carver, weaver, metal worker, gardener, etc.
Text Book Page No. 83
Why do you think the city was fortified ?
Hampi was a trade as well as temple town. And temples, were the centres of wealth and the honour of kings. In order to protect the people fro the attack of the enemy, the town of Hampi was fortified
Text Book Page No. 85
Why did the English and the Dutch decide to establish settlements in Masulipatnam ?
- Masulipatnam was the most important port of the Andhra coast.
- It had the convenience of the place where ships can anchor.
- It was a trade town connected to the hinterland.
Due to all such reasons, the Dutch and the English decided to establish settlements in Masulipatnam.
Text Book Page No. 88
You are planning a journey from Surat to west Asia in the seventeenth century. What are the arrangements you will make ?
If I would plan a journey from Surat to West Asia in the 17th century, I would make the following arrangements :
- I would get a confirmed reservation in one of the ships travelling on that route.
- I would send some money to West Asia through hundi , as it would not be wise to carry money on a ship journey.
- I would look for if I could do some businesses on my journey.
Exercise Questions and Answers
Fill in the blanks :
(a) The Rajarajeshvara temple was built in ______
(b) Ajmer is associated with the Sufi saint ______
Khwaja Muinuddin Chisti
(c) Hampi was the capital of the ______ Empire.
(d) The Dutch established a settlement at ______ in Andhra Pradesh.
State whether true or false :
(a) We know the name of the architect of the Rajarajeshvara temple from an inscription.
(b) Merchants preferred to travel individually rather than in caravans.
(c) Kabul was a major centre for trade iri elephants.
(d) Surat was an important trading port on the Bay of Bengal.
How was water supplied to the city of Thanjavur?
Thanjavur was situated near the perennial river Kaveri. It was from this river that water was supplied to the city.Also the water supply for the city came from wells and tanks.
Who lived in the “Black Towns” in cities such as Madras ?
The native traders, craftspersons, merchants and artisans used to live in the “Black Towns” in the cities such as Madras.
Why do you think towns grew around temples?
The towns grew around temples due to the following reasons :
- Temples were often central to the economy and society.
- Rulers, who built temples, donated land and money to carry out elaborate rituals, feed pilgrims and priests and celebrate festivals.
- Pilgrims who flocked to the temples also made donations.
- Temple authorities used their wealth to finance, trade and banking.
- Gradually, a large number of priests, workers, artisans, traders, etc. settle near the temple to cater to its needs and those of the pilgrims.
In this ways, towns got developed around temples.
How important were crafts¬persons for the building and maintenance of temples?
Temples were the places to display the most sophisticated art work. Therefore, the craftspersons were important for the building and maintenance of temples. They performed following activities :
- The craftspersons of Bidar were so famous for their inlay work in copper and silver that it came to be called Bidri.
- The Panchalas or Vishwakarma community, consisting of goldsmiths, bronze- smiths, blacksmiths, masons and carpenters, were essential to the building of temples.
- Weavers often donated money to temples.
Why did people from distant lands visit Surat ?
- Surat was the most important medieval port on the west coast of Indian subcontinent.
- It was the emporium of western trade during the Mughal period.
- Surat was the gateway for trade with west Asia via the Gulf of Ormuz.
- Surat has also been called the gate of Mecca, because many pilgrim ships get sail from here.
- There were also several retail and wholesale shops selling cotton textiles.
- Surat was famous for the textiles with gold lace borders (zari). Due to all such reasons, many people from distant lands visited Surat.
In what ways was craft production in cities like Calcutta different from that in cities like Thanjavur ?
|Craft Production in Thanjavur||Craft Production in Calcutta|
|Craftspersons were free to be as much creative as they could be.||Craftspersons had to produce what was demanded by the East India company.|
|Craftspersons used to live near temple. They always get buyers of their products.||The craftspersons were forced to live in the “Black Towns”. The only buyer of their products was the East India company.|
|There was no system of advances.||There existed system of advances, which meant that they have to weave cloths which were already promised to European agents.|
|Weavers had the freedom of selling their own cloths or weaving by their own patters.||Weavers no longer had liberty of selling their own cloths or weaving by their own patterns.|
|They didn’t have to reproduce same deigns.||They had to reproduce the designs supplied to them by the company agents.|
Compare any one of the cities described in this chapter with a town or a village with which you are familiar. Do you notice any similarities or differences?
Students, do it yourselves.
[Hint : Take up the present-day city of New Delhi, the capital of India.]
- It is the seat of government. (Parliament)
- Justice is done here. (Supreme Court)
- Many people from distant places visit here.
- Many traders and powerful nobles live here.
- It is the commercial complex.
- It is a cultural development centre.
- It provides employment opportunities, etc.
Difference – (with Thanjavur, the capital of Cholas)
- Its size is much larger.
- It has an elaborate transportation system.
- It is expanding day by day.
- It also experiences unlawful activities.
- Migrants fill up the present-day Delhi, etc.
What were the problems encountered by merchants ? Do you think some of these problems persist today ?
Some of the problems faced by the merchants were as under :
(1) They had to travel through forests and there was always the fear of robbers. Therefore, merchants travelled in caravans.
(2) Merchants such as Mulla Abdul Ghafur and Indian Virji Vora, who owned a large number of ships were subdued by the East India Company ships. Then, they have to work as agents of the company instead of running their own business.
(3) Yes, such problems do exist today.
Find out more about the architecture of either Thanjavur or Hampi, and prepare a scrap book illustrating temples and other buildings from these cities.
Students, do it yourselves.
[Hint : Students can search from the internet.]
Find out about any present-day pilgrimage centre. Why do you think people go there ? What do they do there ? Are there any shops in the area ? If so, what is bought and sold there ?
Students, do it yourselves.
[Hint : Think of Vaishno Devi temple or Hazratbal Mosque in Kashmir. People go there on pilgrimage. There are shops of local merchants and traders in these pilgrimage centres. Apart from selling prasad the shops deals with shawls and other local products.]